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“Don’t Quit Your Day-Jobs, Mice.”

That is what I said to cartoon mice today. I said it under my breath, quiet enough that my kids couldn’t hear me. But the point is that something possessed me to say it out loud.We were piled on the couch watching Cinderella, all home sick. In the movie, the mice had just revealed the dress they’d created for their beloved Cinderella.

To refresh your memory, this is the dress:

It is hideous: white, pepto pink, and turquoise beads. It’s full of overlapping sashes and bustles. It looks like a mix between a crossing guard’s uniform and a canopy bed. I remember thinking this when I was 5, back in 1982, when I saw it for the first time. I guess it’s a noble effort, considering they are mice. But ugly enough to warrant my “don’t quit your day-jobs, Mice,” comment, no?

Two things immediately struck me, after these words left my lips:

1. When did I become so negative that I feel the need to shit all over the work of these poor, one dimensional mice who are not running for their lives for once and are trying their hands (paws? What do mice have?) at dressmaking,


2. When did I become so invested? It’s not just Cinderella’s outfit. It’s children’s programming in general. I have been catching myself rolling my eyes (so that my kids can’t see) at all manner of bullshit I let them watch – Caillou’s whiny, obnoxious voice, Daniel Tiger’s obsession with trolleys, Sid the Science Kid and his perfect family and freakishly small classroom – really, PBS? A 4 to 1 student to teacher ratio? Way to make us strive for the unattainable.)

Somehow, this Cinderella dress was the final straw, unhinging me. For better or for worse, I CARE about this. I used to care about important things. Politics. The world. Now, apparently, I have something to say about cartoon couture.

The step sisters don’t have many redeeming qualities, but they do Cinderella a great service when they rip it to shreds.

Every time I see that dress, I think of how I wish Andie from Pretty in Pink also had step sisters to do something similar to her self-made dress before she went to the prom with Blaine. That dress  – seen here:


– was NOT created by rodents but, rather, a human being from start to finish, so what the hell was her excuse? It was a goddamned atrocity: the high neck with the choker built in, the unflattering no-waisted non-shape, the dusty rose color of it all. A crime against fashion. It still haunts my dreams: my anxiety nightmares aren’t about walking into school naked, they’re about showing up to the prom in that shit-show, blowing my chance with Andrew McCarthy.

But I digress.

The point is that this morning I realized that I have become a deranged version of the Fashion Police, snapping at a well-meaning mischief of mice who were just trying to help a sad orphan get to the ball on time.

Carrie Friedman

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